ORDER is an opera that seeks to radically critique the conventions and injustices of capitalism and its global hegemony. Presented in its three acts are a series of carefully engineered interventions in public and private spaces, in which the melodrama of the artists’ making collides head-on with reality. Filmed between Houston, Dublin and London, ORDER moves between open-carry demonstrations, out-of-town shopping malls and lavish dinners, to present the historic antagonisms of the oppressors and the oppressed.
Act I, ‘EAT THE RICH/KILL THE POOR’, brings the viewer a character of inherited wealth, as loathsome as she is elegant. Clearly a woman of power and of means, she lectures on the virtues of work and the ineptitude of the lowly labourer versus machines from the safety of her gilded limousine, the outside of which reads ‘EAT THE RICH/KILL THE POOR’.
This is juxtaposed with the tension of an armed demonstration by the Houston chapter of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, a black liberation and self-defence coalition styled on the Black Panther Party, that shot to fame following their armed demonstrations in Ferguson. Democracia present this group’s auto-empowerment – they are organised, armed, purposeful and discontented. They are as infinitely demanding of society as they are invisible to it, in spite of their black fatigues, angry cries and automatic weapons.
Act II, ‘Konsumententchor’, explores the dynamics of contemporary consumerism through a group of young children who sing of their drives to devour and deplete in spite of all consequence. The scene plays out inside a strange late-capitalist shopping mall replete with a glass pyramid atop the structure, the shoppers are unperturbed by the intervention: nothing should stop a good spending spree.
In the final act, we see the ultimate confrontation, between the embodiment of the ruthless purveyor of capitalism, who exposes in his celebrations the true cost of his riches, and the brave, indignant waitress who confronts her transgressors with her abject reality. She exclaims; ‘Your order is the chaos’ and concedes ‘upon this chaos I will build my house’. The performers here are planted within a real private dinner party at the Dorchester Hotel, London - in attendance are bankers, politicians, venture capitalists, art dealers, even royalty, none of whom were prepared for such a confrontation.
Democracia is an artistic collective comprised of Iván López & Pablo España based in Madrid, Spain. Formed in 2006, their collaboration seeks to centre artistic production on collectivity, discourse, dissensus and conflict. Democracia's work is characterised by their ambitious and provocative social interventions, superlative production, contemporary agitprop punk aesthetic and emancipatory content.
Their projects reflect concerns with so-called progressive societies; visible in the increasing importance of the image and in the gradual incorporation of simulacrum into different realms of daily life. These concerns are expressed through forms subverting and repositioning the aesthetic material and textual rhetoric of Western political cultures. In so doing, their practice presents a radical critique of societal/political/economic institutions, systems and conventions.